When you go from talking every single day to being total strangers, you get into the habit of picking up your phone and putting it right back down. You click on their name, type a message you never would have hesitated to text them back in the day, and then erase the words before you get too tempted to press send.
You want to tell them about the joke you saw on the internet that only they would find funny. You want to tell them about the person you ran into yesterday because they are the only one who would understand how awkward the situation was.
You want to talk to them about everything. About nothing. You just want them in your life again.
But when you go from talking every single day to being total strangers, the rules become fuzzy. You don’t know when it’s appropriate to pick up your phone and send them a text and when you should choose silence.
No, you probably shouldn’t contact them when you’re having a bad day and need a shoulder to lean on, because they’re not your ride or die anymore. But can you text them on their birthday? On Thanksgiving? On Christmas?
What about liking and commenting on their social media posts? Is that weird? Or is it weirder if you ignore their pictures, if you act like they don’t exist, if you delete them from social media completely because you can’t stand to see them smile without you?
When you go from talking every single day to being total strangers, you wake up feeling like something is missing. You feel like you’ve lost more than a friend, a partner, a teammate. It’s like you’ve lost a piece of your own identity. Like you’ve lost part of what makes you you.
And it makes you wonder whether there is something wrong with you. Whether you aren’t exciting enough or attractive enough to convince someone to stay. Whether you are only a placeholder, whether you are destined to be abandoned by everyone you grow to love.
When you go from talking every single day to being total strangers, you never stop being reminded of your loss. Friends that haven’t seen you in a while will ask you how that person has been doing, because you were always like this. Because you were always joined at the hip.
And when they find out you don’t really talk to that person anymore, they will look shocked — and it will remind you how shocking it is that this happened. It will remind you how wrong it feels after your numbness made you forget.
When you go from talking every single day to being total strangers, it’s hard to trust again. It’s hard to believe that anyone would ever stick by your side through it all — because if this person walked away from you, couldn’t anybody?
But when you go from talking every single day to being total strangers, you get a chance to spend more time with yourself. To grow into the kind of person who is strong enough to love again, to trust again, to take a risk again.
Right now, you have the time to reevaluate what you need from life. And you have the freedom to search the universe until you find it.